Friday, October 19, 2007

Lies my recruiter told me, prelude

Initially I was very resistant to working through recruiters, for reasons I don't quite understand now. My best guess is it was a combination of pride ( I was so awesome I should be able to find a job on my own) , avoidance of contract work (the temps I saw were all click monkeys who didn't know what a race condition was*) which I thought was synonymous with recruiters, and a feeling like this was cheating (unexamined feelings of cheating will be a recurring theme here).

Two things precipitated the change. The first was that I accidentally got on a recruiters list when I applied to a specific job posting on craigslist. They asked to submit my resume to another one of their clients. I wasn't qualified for the posting, but in keeping with my general principle of "don't turn down a chance to practice interviewing", I said yes. They turned me down too (I'm assuming they noticed I was not qualified), but they shared an HR agent with another company, who had a job that was an excellent fit for me. This, combined with the cumulative pressure of weeks of failed job hunting, including a grab for the brass ring (that would be precipitator number two), made me think that maybe recruiters weren't so bad.

I tried to apply directly to recruiting agencies, but that was a non-starter. I only knew a few names. Most didn't take direct applications, the closest I got was essentially a job posting board.

I had heard about dice the month before at an otherwise useless mandatory unemployment resources meeting. Don't let the preceding sentence fool you: the woman leading the meeting was absolutely useless, and took a long time demonstrating this. A fellow job seeker mentioned dice as one of the things they tried. I added it to my list of sites to check regularly (craigslist, hot jobs, career builder and monster being the others). I chose to post to dice only because the monster hack was in the news and dice seemed more focused. Honestly, I'm not sure it matters. A friend of a friend did well with monster, another occasionally gets recruiters calling after seeing her personal web page. Dice worked for me.

E-mails and calls flooded in. Two/day, minimum. I will be working two weeks after posting my resume. I don't think the interviews reached one/day, but they would have soon. I suspect I would have done even better had I not had the previously mentioned low-experience problem. And now, I'll be able to solve that.

That said, they're not miracle workers. They're more like walking contact books. Sometimes they overreach their area of expertise. This is the start of a series in which I share advice I was given and make fun of it explain its good and bad features. And there's at least one piece of advice that was really useful. It was insultingly obvious, but I'm an idiot (I told you feelings of cheating would reoccur), so I'm glad they sent it. Copying and pasting a recruiter's e-mail would be plagiarism, but I figure I'm safe if I paraphrase and combine several letters.

*Note to non-technicals: this is a bad

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